Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Off the Shelves

In our relatively small apartment, we have 101 feet of bookshelves, all of them full. I know this because the last time I complained about needing more shelves, my husband did some measuring and calculations to prove that (1) there are very few places we could even fit another bookshelf, and none of them are logical (according to him anyway; I don’t think we need all of that extra space around the dining room table) and (2) WE HAVE OVER A HUNDRED FEET OF SHELVES FILLED WITH BOOKS. THAT’S INSANE AND YOU HAVEN’T EVEN READ MOST OF THEM!

And I guess he’s right. 

I read A LOT of books, don’t worry, but I also buy a lot of books. Plus I spend a good portion of my reading time on books that I don’t own (because I love libraries too, just not quite as much book sales.) 

I’ll admit that I have a problem, which is always the first step, right? And for the next step, I stumbled on the perfect motivation: The Off the Shelves Challenge on Bookish Ardour’s blog.
Basically it’s a commitment to read X number of your owned but unread books before the end of 2011. There are several possible levels:
  1. Tempted–  Choose 5 books to read
  2. Trying – Choose 15 books to read
  3. Making A Dint – Choose 30 books to read
  4. On A Roll – Choose 50 books to read
  5. Flying Off – Choose 75 books to read
For extra hard challenges:
  1. Hoarder – Choose 76-125 books to read
  2. Buried – Choose 126-200 books to read
I’m legitimately concerned that I own enough unread books to qualify for the Hoarder level, but I also know I won’t have time to read that many. I’m aiming for 50 books instead, all listed below with a bit of random commentary. They’re in no particular order, though they are sort of grouped by genre since my shelves are all carefully categorized (yes, I’m a nerd).

1.    Sapphique - Fisher (I’m almost finished it, but I started reading it after January 1 so it totally counts)
2.    Battle Royale – Takami (I meant to read this one right after I saw the movie. Then I meant to read it alongside Hunger Games. Double fail.)
3.    Island - Huxley
4.    Ape and Essence - Huxley
5.    The Children of Men – James
6.    Flatland – Abbot
7.    The Man in the High Castle – Dick
8.   Divided Kingdom – Thomson
9.   Child 44 – Smith
10.  Restoring Harmony – Anthony
11.   The Other Side of the Island – Goodman
12.  The Mysterious Benedict Society – Stewart
13.  Looking for Alaska – Green (Yes, I know that as a Nerdfighter I should have read this one already)
14.  Paper Towns – Green (And this one)
15.   Will Grayson, Will Grayson – Green and Levithan (This one’s newer so I’m going to say it’s okay)
16.  Educating Waverly – Kalpakian
17.   Hula – Shea
18.  Everything’s Illuminated – Foer (This one was a gift, which makes me feel extra guilty)
19.   Dangerous Laughter – Millhauser (ditto)
20. The Year of the Flood – Atwood (I rushed out to buy this in hardback after Oryx & Crake and then…nothing. Total Fail.)
21.  Cat’s Eye – Atwood
22. Reading Lolita in Tehran – Nafisi
23. The Wishing Box – Slater
24. The Replacement – Yovanoff
25.  The Unauthorized Autobiography – Lemony Snicket
26.  A Tale Dark and Grimm – Gidwitz
27.  Zombies VS Unicorns – Black and
28. Eragon – Paolini (So I can talk about it with my adorable student who loves it)
29. The Book of Lost Things – Connolly
30. The Immortals – Hickman
31.  To Say Nothing of the Dog – Willis
32. The Worthing Saga – Card
33. Ender in Exile – Card (I LOVE the Ender series…HOW DID I FORGET TO READ THIS ONE??)
34. The Gatekeepers – Steinberg
35.  The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil – Zimbardo
36. Adam’s Navel – Sims
37.  Eats, Shoots & Leaves – Truss (Confession: as a hip composition professor and language person, I always pretend I’ve already read this one)
38.  Just Open a Vein: Writers on Writing – various
39. On Being a Writer – various
40.  Writing for Children and Teenagers – Wyndham
41.  Writing Articles from the Heart – Holmes  
42.  Sister Bernadette’s Barking Dog – Florey
43.  Heavy Words Lightly Thrown – Roberts
44.  Reading the OED (to make myself feel better about this challenge and the fact that I no longer have full access to the online OED)
45.  The Secret Agent – Conrad
46.  The Magic Christian – Southern
47.  All the Sad Young Literary Men – Gessen
48.  Ordinary Men – Browning
49.  Darwin’s Children – Bear
50.  All Tomorrow’s Parties – Gibson


  1. You're on. I'm in for 50 too. but then what do we do with them....

  2. It says that you don't HAVE to get rid of them, but I think I'm also going to aim to get rid of 10 books (meaning if I read 50 and I want to keep them all, I have to keep reading!) You could aim to get rid of half of them or something, since you're better at that part :-)